I’m frugal when I shop. In fact, buying generic was one of my top tips for saving money on groceries! However, even I know that there are some things that you shouldn’t buy generic, even if it does save you some money.
Five Things You shouldn’t buy generic
My parents always used to buy the cheap Scott toilet paper. While still a name brand, it was thin and scratchy. That’s not what you want for toilet paper! Sorry, but that’s not the answer! Call me bougie, but I want soft, comfortable toilet paper. I’m definitely not going to buy the generic brand. I usually buy Quilted Northern, but in a pinch I’ll go with Charmin. Charmin used to be my brand of choice, but I think they changed their formula a few years back and now Quilted Northern seems softer to me.
So yeah, this is a weird thing to put on the list. Pickles aren’t exactly a necessity, but they sure are tasty! Unfortunately, not all pickles are created equal. You can find fairly cheap pickles in the canned fruit aisle (or on some non-perishable shelf, not really sure where because they are gross). The pickles in the deli aisle are where it’s at. Those Kosher Dill slices are little bits of heaven, and definitely worth the extra few dollars!
I’m pretty sure that everyone knows by now that chips are my weakness. I love chips. There’s something immensely satisfying about that salty crunch. But store brand chips just taste a little off. They are either too crunchy, or too salty, or too something. They just don’t have that little Je Ne Sais Quoi that the name brand chips have. And oddly enough, this applies to all the different types of chips. Doritos, Lays, Cheetos, etc. are all so much freaking better than any of the generic brands I’ve tried. I don’t know why that is, but I just can’t buy the generic brands.
Have you ever tried Aim toothpaste? It’s like 88 cents and the worst thing you can possibly put in your mouth. It’s disgusting. Close-up is pretty cheap too, but the cinnamon flavor is so strong that it just tastes like burning. These are the toothpastes I grew up with. Now that I’m older and can buy my own toothpaste, I don’t buy generic. I used to buy Crest, but I have sensitive teeth and the only thing that helps is Sensodyne. It’s way more expensive (almost six dollars a freaking tube!) but it does help my teeth to not hurt. I mitigate the costs a bit by buying a cheaper brand for my boyfriend. I’m not going to force him to use Aim (I mean, I do have to kiss him!) but pretty much anything is cheaper than Sensodyne, and his teeth aren’t sensitive. Also, Ibotta often has a cash back offer on Sensodyne, which really helps offset the price!
I have to buy Tide laundry detergent. It’s almost like a compulsion. It just smells so good! And I hate those powdery brands, I always end up with crusty powder on my clothes (maybe I should do a better job of reading the directions?). I honestly haven’t tried a lot off of brand laundry detergent, but I like it when my clothes smell like tide, so I don’t think I’m going to be changing brands on this any time soon.
Are there any products that you refuse to buy generic? I want to hear why! Tell me about it in the comments! And if you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to share it!
Everyone has to eat right? We all need to make our weekly pilgrimage to the grocery store to buy food. And have you noticed that it’s getting more and more expensive? A few years ago, I could easily get by on sixty bucks a week, which is quite a rarity now a days! Even so, there are plenty of tried and true methods to save money on groceries, which of these do you use?
How to Save Money on Groceries
Compare Price per Unit
Bigger isn’t always better, but sometimes buying in bulk pays! How are we supposed to tell the difference? Well, luckily, most grocery stores actually list the price per unit! Usually listed in ounces, the price per unit will tell you whether the bigger package or the smaller package is actually the better deal.
I’m sure this has been repeated over and over again, but buying generic brands really is a great way to save money on groceries. Name brand hot dog buns are $2.99, while the generics are 87 cents. That’s two bucks! Name brand corn flakes are almost $3 a box, while the generic is 99 cents. Another two bucks! That adds up fast! Below is a small chart showing the differences in price between the generic version and the name brand version of some common items:
Generic Price per Ounce
Name Brand Price per Ounce
Crispy Rice Cereal
As you can see, opting for the generic version can lead to some pretty hefty savings.
I know this is unpopular, but do you really need all that pop (soda for my west coast friends!) and juice? Most of it is just sugar anyway, and the cost really adds up. A twelve pack of name brand pop costs three to four dollars, and so does a quart of sugar water! Even buying bottled water at the store adds up. It’s cheaper (and better for the environment, and healthier!) to just drink water at home. I actually cut pop out of my life many years ago, and to be honest, I don’t miss it at all. Every six months or so I’ll get a pop with dinner, and its nothing spectacular.
Cook from scratch
Ok, I know this one is hard. We all work long hours, and the last thing we want to do is come and prepare a meal. That pre-packaged freezer crap is so freaking convenient! But alas, that convenience comes at a price. A pre-packaged freezer lasagna costs about eight dollars, and it barely feeds two people (Family meal, yeah right!). Buying lasagna noodles, tomato sauce, cheese, and veggies is tad bit more, but you can make enough lasagna to feed a family for days!
Chili is another great example. I can spend four dollars on cans of chili to feed a family for a night, or I could seven dollars, make my own crock pot chili, and have food for three days.
Chop Your Own Veggies
Ah, the price of convenience again. Most grocery stores now offer pre-cut fruits and vegetables, which are super easy to use, just open and eat! But they tend to be much more expensive than the non-cut fruit. Just look at carrots for example. A pack of carrots costs less than a dollar. A pack of “ready to eat” baby carrots is three dollars (and they aren’t really baby carrots, they are processed carrot waste. Marketing Genius!). You are spending two extra dollars so that you don’t have to take a minute to peel a carrot. Is that worthwhile? Only you can answer that, but I will say that I’ve started buying the cheaper, unpeeled carrots.
Use A Cash Back App
Save money on groceries/earn cash back on groceries, same thing right? If you aren’t using Ibotta to earn cash back on groceries you need to sign up right now. If you have questions, check out my guide to Ibotta, which in my humble opinion, is the best on the internet! I’ve earned over twenty dollars back in just two weeks of using the app. That will really help my grocery bill go down.
Shop at the Cheap Places
Oh, how I would love to shop at the bougie grocery stores like Publix and Kroger. But why would I do that when I can get the exact same food for lower prices at Walmart? Yes, I know that Walmart gets a lot of hate, and some of it is justified. But that doesn’t change the fact that I spend twenty to thirty dollars more every time I shop at a traditional grocery store over Walmart. The prices are a bit higher on most items, and when you are buying 100 items, that really adds up.
I’d really love to transition to shopping at Aldi or someplace similar (cheap but also not terrible!) but unfortunately there aren’t any Aldis in my area.
Make a List and Stick to it!
You know what really eats up your grocery budget? That pesky impulse buy! Did you really need those crackers, cookies, chips, or ice cream cakes? Probably not (but yes on the chips, if you are anything like me!). And if you did need them, make sure you include them on your list! I budget for my chips every week, and being able to splurge a tiny bit on that has really helped prevent me from buying other stupid impulse crap. Make a list that includes your favorite snacks (because snacks are essential!) and stick to it!
Use the Store’s Loyalty Program
Lots of grocery stores still have that loyalty card thing that gives you better deals than the “normal customers”. Anyone can sign up for these cards and it’s really just a giant marketing scheme to collect your data, but hey, it can really help you save money on groceries.
Walmart doesn’t have a card, but they do have a savings catcher program. All you have to do is scan the QR code at checkout, and Walmart will scan your receipt for “bonus savings”, adding that money back to your account. You can then pay with that money on your next visit.
Buy Less Meat
I know, I know – it’s not a meal if there’s no meat (One of my old Army buddies actually said that to me!). But that’s not entirely true. I can make plenty of delicious meals without using meat, and I’m not even a good cook! The truth is, meat is expensive, and not everything actually needs it. You could easily make vegetarian spaghetti (or any pasta for that matter), chili, stuffed peppers, and more. You can even make tacos with potatoes instead of beef! There are so many options for vegetarian meals, you’d be surprised. And, throwback to the beginning of the post, it’s also healthier and better for the environment!
What are your favorite ways to save money on groceries? Any little tip might help, so tell me about it in the comments! Also, if you loved this post, hit that share button!
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